The Teatro Real Audience Pays Tribute to Plácido Domingo

SpainSpain Verdi, Macbeth (semi-staged): Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Real / James Conlon (conductor), Teatro Real, Madrid, 17.7.2017. (JMI)

Plácido Domingo as Macbeth © J. del Real
Plácido Domingo as Macbeth © J. del Real

Macbeth – Plácido Domingo
Lady Macbeth – Anna Pirozzi
Macduff – Brian Jagde
Banco – Ildebrando D’Arcangelo
Malcolm – Airam Hernández
Medico – Fernando Radó
Dama –  Raquel Lojendio
Sicario – David Sánchez

Once again, Plácido Domingo has closed the opera season at the Teatro Real. On this occasion the chosen title was Macbeth, offered in a semi-staged version with the orchestra in the pit and the chorus seated on stage. A space was left at the front for the soloists who sang without scores and, in some cases, in costume.

The version used here was the revised one done for Paris in 1865, including the ballet music. To this was added Macbeth’s final aria from the 1847 production, ‘Mal per me’, which had been dropped in the revision.

James Conlon has always seemed to me an excellent opera conductor, dating from the years when I used to see him in Paris at the Bastille. His appearances in Madrid are usually in concert versions and often with Plácido Domingo in the cast. Once again, Conlon’s conducting was bright and energetic, and he drew superb performances from both orchestra and chorus. It’s a pity that we don’t see him more often in Spanish opera theatres.

Plácido Domingo sang the part of Macbeth a few weeks ago at the Mariinsky in St. Petersburg with Valery Gergiev conducting. The character is one of Verdi’s baritones that Mr. Domingo has recently incorporated into his repertoire; in fact, he did not debut it until February 2015 in Berlin, under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. Mr. Domingo continues to maintain both vocal and physical freshness in his performances, but I don’t find Macbeth the most successful of his recent baritone roles. There is no doubt that he is a unique and incomparable artist, although he did sound tight occasionally.

Italian soprano Anna Pirozzi as Lady Macbeth gave a strong performance. Her voice is well suited to the character, but she shows some lack of control in the higher notes. She was better in the first part of the opera.

Tenor Brian Jagde left a positive impression as Macduff and was at his best in ‘La paterna mano’. He has an attractive voice and sang with gusto and emotion. lldebrando D’Arcangelo was correct in the part of Banco, although I prefer him in Mozart. Tenor Airam Hernández in the part of Malcolm made a good impression; and both Fernando Radó and Raquel Lojendio did nicely in their roles.

The Teatro Real was sold out. The audience showed their enthusiasm during and at the end of the concert, with the biggest ovations – obviously – dedicated to Plácido Domingo.

José M. Irurzun 

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